Frequently asked questions

What is an e-cigarette?

An electronic cigarette (e-cig or e-cigarette), personal vaporizer (PV) or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) is a battery-powered vaporizer that mimics the feeling of smoking. They are often tube-shaped, with many variations. Some e-cigarettes look like traditional cigarettes, but others do not. There are disposable or reusable versions. The liquid in the devices usually contains nicotine. The levels of nicotine in the cartridges may vary and most also contain flavourings. When a user sucks on the device, a sensor detects air flow and heats the liquid in the cartridge so that it evaporates. The vapour delivers the nicotine to the user.

Find out more about e-cigarettes here.

Can you get e-cigarettes by prescription?

E-cigarettes are not available on prescription in Oxfordshire.

Read about other stop smoking treatments.

Can people who use e-cigarettes receive support from their local GP or smoking cessation service?

Yes, and it is likely that their quit attempt will be more successful. However, if the individual is only using e-cigarettes and not smoking tobacco products, they cannot receive behavioural support.

How long can you smoke an e-cigarette for?

There is no suggested length of usage for e-cigarettes. However, we would encourage you to reduce and ultimately stop, your usage of e-cigarettes following successfully quitting tobacco smoking.

Quitting all forms of nicotine use is the best option for smokers.

What are the safety issues with e-cigarettes?

Compared with smoking, using an electronic cigarette is safer.

Most, but not all electronic cigarettes contain nicotine. The harm from smoking comes mainly from inhaling tobacco smoke rather than the nicotine. However, nicotine is an addictive drug which stimulates the nervous system, increasing the heart rate and blood pressure.

Toxins have been found in a number of studies of electronic cigarettes although these are at levels much lower than those found in cigarettes and not at levels which would generally cause concern.

Most of the safety concerns regarding electronic cigarettes relate to the absence of appropriate product regulation, leading to a variation in e-cigarette effectiveness and nicotine delivery.

Other things to be mindful of around the safety of e-cigarettes is when charging them. Electrical Safety First has a few tips on their website.

Is there a problem with second hand vape?

Although electronic cigarettes do not produce smoke, users exhale a smoke-like vapour which consists largely of propylene glycol and glycerine. Any health risks of second-hand exposure to electronic cigarette vapour are mostly limited to irritation of the throat.

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